Anthony Martial provides attacking spark in abject Manchester United performance against Middlesbrough

by Leo Nieboer

Anthony Martial produced another excellent performance despite Manchester United’s shambolic penalty shootout defeat against Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.

The Frenchman was introduced with 20 minutes of normal time remaining as Louis van Gaal‘s side pushed for a winner against Middlesbrough.

In what was a painfully lethargic home performance, Man United fans placed their hopes of a winner almost solely on Martial’s shoulders as he replaced an underwhelming Memphis Depay.

And, on another day, he could have been United’s saviour; he drew a handball in the box from Middlesbrough’s Daniel Ayala, but, rather astonishingly, the referee waved play on. Moreover, his header in the dying minutes was inches away from going in.

But despite not delivering a decisive blow, Martial was exciting from the moment he came on. Starting on the left before moving into the No.9 role, the youngster led United’s late onslaught with some mazy dribbles and penetrating runs.

Supporters ought to be disappointed after what was a torturous evening, but they must acknowledge the silver lining of Martial, who, after just 10 appearances in a United shirt, looks to be the most menacing attacking force at van Gaal’s disposal.

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